Vision for an independent organisation to represent UK landlords

Vision for an independent organisation to represent UK landlords

20:18 PM, 16th September 2018, About 3 years ago 76

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* Suggestions made by Mark Alexander, founder of Property118.com –

Imagine an organisation with 10’s of millions of pounds of budget every year, funded entirely by its landlord members and acting only in the interests of its members. No sponsorships, no affiliations, no sharing of member data or side deals with any suppliers of services to landlords whatsoever.

For decades our sector has been contemplating how this could actually be achieved in practice, and how every landlord in the UK could be compelled to join such an organisation without any legislative change needed.

Support required

If the groups listed below agreed only do business with landlords who are members, this would mean that no landlord could operate without becoming a member.

  • Mortgage lenders
  • Members of The Law Society
  • Members of the professional accountancy bodies
  • Deposit Protection Providers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Letting Agents

In practice, this could be achieved even if only the three Deposit Protection Scheme providers where to agree to support the proposals, but the other groups are also needed to add balance and to unite their expertise without disturbing delicate politics in their own sectors.

The numbers

Even after factoring in a substantial number of landlords leaving the sector, a realistic numbers prediction is circa 1.5 million landlord members, each paying £10 to £20 year. This produces a fund of £15000,000 to £30,000,000 annually.

The proposed organisation would operate on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis and its sole aim would be to serve its membership of landlords only.

With the levels of budget described above it could afford to have dedicated helplines, PR teams, lobbyists, event organisers, regional representatives and meetings, regular member webinars and high profile social media presence.

The organisation would be staffed by its own employees.

Objectives and opportunities

Now consider the influence and power the organisation would wield, with 15 to 30 million pounds of funding every year, on issues such as:-

  • Section 24 restrictions on finance cost relief
  • The campaign to end Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988
  • The ban on tenant fees
  • The campaign for rent capping
  • The ban on tenant fees
  • Universal Credit
  • The new HMO Licensing laws
  • PRA lending rules
  • Tax on insurance premiums
  • Compulsory Client Money Protection for agents
  • Funding of legal action (including Judicial reviews) which are pivotal to legislation and case law affecting its members

The PRS needs this to combat the destructive anti-landlord lobbying of organisations such as Shelter, Generation Rent etc. Their crazy ideas are being listened to but the voices of landlords and their supporting service providers are not.

Landlords Associations have proven to be ineffective, it is time for change.

Organisational structure

All Directors would be voted in annually by members and would serve a maximum of four years in every 8.

Directors would all be seconded by their employers from the sectors outlined in the “Support required” section above.

These organisations could nominate their employees to run for election as Directors on a secondment basis. If they are voted onto the board by members their salaries could then be reimbursed to their employers from the membership fund. Assuming an average salary for Board members of £100,000 a year, the cost of running the Board of Directors would be a drop in the ocean in comparison to the Budget.

One Director would be elected from each group.

The members voting system for the appointment of Directors would be online in a format resembling the following:-

Name Here

Sector
e.g. Tax, Law, Lending, deposit Protection, Insurance
Employer  [company
Salary  £xxx,xxx
Online Profile [website link]

 

UPDATE 2pm 18th September 2018

When I published this article I hadn’t considered Monopolies, closed shops legislation or restrictive trade practices or thought about running my ideas past our Legal Counsel Mark Smith before publishing. If I had done so, this article may never have been published. However, the subsequent discussion would not have happened either, so i think it is important that I leave this page up to facilitate further discussion and sharing of ideas.

So, where does that leave us?

It feels to me like we are back to square one of landlords being an apathetic group of somewhere between one and two million people without effective representation and an easy target for any Government authority to milk as cash cows whenever they see fit.

Anybody got an alternative solution they would like to propose?



Comments

by Monty Bodkin

14:35 PM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 18/09/2018 - 13:34I think government might start the ball rolling for us.
They have seen what a lovely money generating scam selective licensing is for local authorities and want their slice of the action. They are shortly carrying out a review of selective licensing.
At some stage, they won't be able to resist a national licensing scam register (the other lot certainly would).
That will have the unintended consequence of collectivising landlords.

by Joe Robertson

15:10 PM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Count me in! What are the next steps!?

by Larry Sweeney

8:07 AM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Hi Mark.
Prop 118 did a great job in the West Brom case. Obviously I agree with the objectives, but Im not sure about the vehicle you propose. I would keep it simple
A new organisation which states its objective is to solely represent landlords. The organisation will never flog courses or cheap smoke detectors and certainly will not lie in bed with councils on selective licensing like a cheap prostitute. We would just have to market the organisation by contacting landlords ,the councils licensing database could help. The law requires it to be open to the public. It would be a hard slog and require dedication but I believe it could be done , especially helpful would be Property 118 promoting it. The Website would be updated
regularly with real news such as the case this week of the Landlord in Essex who had his HMO conviction overturned in Crown. It is that type of info which must be imparted to the LL community to assist with pushback .

by Mark Alexander

8:29 AM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 19/09/2018 - 08:07
Hi Larry

That’s pretty much what we are doing now, funded by donations, but only a fraction of our costs are met by donations. The rest is funded by us.

Unless it is possible to find a way to compel all landlords to join and make a contribution it will never happen, and we simply cannot compete with the resources that NLA and RLA already have.

I can see a National Landlord Registration Scheme being introduced by Government at some point, and the admin of it will probably result in higher fees than I have suggested just to administer it. However, I cannot see that it will represent landlords at all.

by Laura Delow

8:41 AM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 18/09/2018 - 13:34Establishing, running & maintaining a nationwide body that is a cohesive & credible body representing the collective voice of Landlords to address common threats (e.g. oppressive legislation/regulation/taxation which in turn hurts the Tenant community), and to negotiate agreement(s) between government / other non-profit organizations that binds us in a common goal, is not impossible but is of course a massive task.
To be taken seriously by government/NGO's & other sectors as a truly representative body of the PRS sector may also require the involvement of the Tenant community to ensure collective interests are met not just the individual interests of the Landlord community. It can be done but only with the commitment of strong leadership & a massive investment of time.
As Ian Narbeth says; may be we should first test whether we can at the very least establish a solid voice / organisational group to lobby the NLA/RLA to stand up to Government. If we can't succeed with the NLA/RLA (who are meant to be on our side already), then we've proven we can't organise a pi** up in a brewery let alone influence Government.

by Larry Sweeney

8:44 AM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

No Mark, if they introduce a National landlords scheme or database it will simply be for their benefit. It most certainly will not represent landlords. It could however provide a springboard from where we could recruit members. I should imagine the NLA and RLA will definately try oppose this measure as it would really place them in danger of wipeout. The fact that there has been such an intelligent and passionate debate here re a new organisation further illustrates the depth of disgust felt for the existing organisations.
I remember attending an NLA meeting where a senior exec posted slides of her student flat with lovely cuddly bear pillows and informed the few NLA members who bothered to attend , that this was proof not all landlords were bad. I joke you not. It was the most condesending bullshit I had ever heard. The meeting was attended by a Council rep, the same Rep who had sat on the Selective Licensing consultation with landlords. I walked out of that meeting in sheer disgust and obviously binned my NLA membership.

by Dennis Leverett

9:29 AM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Laura Delow at 19/09/2018 - 08:41
Laura's comments and re: "getting tenants involved" are by far the best on this subject so far, in my opinion, but actually achieving it is really beyond comprehension. The NLA/RLA need a serious wake up call and some help from Mark and his team. Another thing that disappoints me is the huge amount of priceless advice given for free here but how many of those that have benefited actually make any comments or contribution? Apart from being a landlord I have an online woodworking business which had a forum for help for many years. A few months ago I did some research on its users and discovered that only a very, very small amount were actual customers of mine, the rest basically freeloaders that purchased elsewhere from the discount boys that have no product knowledge or real customer care and used my knowledge for free. Sadly that's the way of the world now. I took down the forum to save my time and no-one as yet has e mailed to ask where its gone and its had no negative effect on my business. If my customers need help they e mail me and get help. On this subject so far only 15 people have commented on what is a major need for landlords, that's not many and mainly regulars!!.

by John MacAlevey

10:09 AM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Sadly & not unusually, ideology/politics & other negative human traits obscure rational & forward thinking on both sides of the PRS `fence`

Shelters agenda is slanted ideologically opposing capitalism..it seems to me.
Local councils often oppose for the same reasons with political views also having an influence.
Renters have a mind-set like car hirers..some respect other peoples property..many do not.
Landlords take advantage of weak systems controlling the public purse.
Arla, Nals et al..all are supposed to speak for landlords but have little real effect..they just pick up annual fees as a matter of `right`

I`m just describing UK life..

by Gwen Davies

12:08 PM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

As Mark has said to get the right calibre of person the salary would need to fit the post. How do you find the right person (and when can they start?) haha!

by John Frith

17:23 PM, 19th September 2018, About 3 years ago

I've been a member of NLA for a few years now, and I can only remember them asking for feedback from members once. This they used to "re-brand" their website and magazine!

It is hardly surprising that I feel the NLA isn't representing me, because there is no dialogue between us. I imagine the RLA is the same.

The only way forward I can see is if the organisations that are already there could unite in joint causes, and shared the financial cost.

Off the top of my head, how about an annual conference, attended by any landlord, with the NLA, RLA, P118, and any other organisation representing landlords coming together to try and find out what landlords wanted them to do?


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